St John's Wort Dosage

Dosage varies according to the way in which it has been prepared.

St John's wort is used for medicinal purposes in a number of ways.

St John's Wort Preparations

The flowering tops of the plant are normally used in preparations Flowering tops contain the more potent concentrations of active ingredients.

Taken internally, St John's wort is consumed via tablets and capsules, tea bags, tinctures and also as an oil extract.

St John's wort is usually taken internally to treat depression, anxiety and pain.

St John's Wort Dosage For Depression

The most common motivation for taking St John's wort is to benefit from the antidepressant properties.

St John's wort products which are marketed as antidepressants, usually take the form of tablets and capsules which contain standardized extracts of the active ingredient hypericin.

At present, there is no agreed dosage for St John's wort. The National Institute of Health is currently researching dosage of St John's wort.

However, there are generally accepted levels of dosage suitable for treatment.

In Europe, the amount of hypericin in a tablet or capsule is expressed as a percentage.

  • Normal strength doses contain around 0.15% hypericin; these doses are more suited for mild depression.
  • High strength doses contain around 0.3% hypericin and are recommended for moderate to severe depression.

A recommended dose for moderate depression is 300mg St John's wort (0.3% hypericin) taken 3 times daily.

There is debate as to which active ingredient is responsible for the antidepressant qualities of St John's wort.

Although initially hypericin was thought to be the active ingredient with these qualities, attention is now focusing on the other compound, hyperforin.

There are St John's wort products which contain hyperforin as the main active ingredient. These preparations are usually standardized to 2-5% hyperforin.

St John's wort is also available in tea bags.

A typical dosage would be 1-2 teaspoons of dried St John's wort herb, added to hot water, infused for 10-15 minutes and taken 3 times a day.

As the tea contains a natural form of hypericin, the method is prone to a higher variation in quality and potency (see also 'dangers of St John's wort'); especially when compared to synthetic hypericin capsules and tablets, whose content can be controlled.

Like conventional antidepressants, it can take between 2 to 6 weeks for St John's wort to fully take effect.

However, some benefits of St John's wort may occur sooner.

Taken externally, St John's wort is available in oil based lotions and ointments. External preparations containing St John's wort can also be used for burns and bruises.